LAKELAND - Florida Southern knew eventually their shots would eventually find the goal as the Moccasins used a six goal third quarter here Sunday afternoon to turn a 4-3 halftime lead into a 10-3 advantage after three quarters en route to posting an 11-6 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne in non-conference action at Bryant Stadium.
With the win, the Moccasins improve to 4-2 on the young season and have now won two straight since suffering a 15-8 loss this past Monday against fifth-ranked Adelphi. FSC opened the current win streak with a 12-6 victory on Friday over Mars Hill.
"These two wins this weekend should give us a lot of momentum going into Thursday's game with Chestnut Hill," Moccasin head coach Marty Ward said following his team's third home win of the season. "We could've taken a bad turn after we lost to Adelphi the way we did on Monday, but instead, we turned it around the right way and made a positive effort and came out of here with two wins this weekend and now we're sitting at 4-2."
In the first quarter, both teams were held scoreless as the teams combined for 31 shots, including 13 shots in the goal. In fact, the Mocs finished the first half with 30 shots and they followed their 16 shot first quarter, by recording 14 shots in the second quarter.
"I thought the first quarter was give-and-take as it was 0-0. Our defense played extremely well and we knew we were getting shots and we knew eventually the chips would fall," said Ward. "We just kept on being aggressive and kept generating shots."
After neither team scored in the opening 15 minutes of play, the two teams combined for seven goals in the second quarter, including four by the Mocs as they took a 4-3 lead at the half.
Lenoir-Rhyne (1-2) was the first time to break the scoreless tie as Mike Hanlon scored an assisted goal just 47 seconds into the second quarter.
Junior attacker Cody Dyer (Slingerlands, N.Y.) would tie the game on his 15th goal of the season just a little over three minutes into the second quarter in a man-up situation. About two minutes later, junior attacker Tyler Kopen (Wynnewood, Pa.) score the first of his five goals in the game to give the Mocs a 2-1 lead.
The Bears, who opened its two game to Florida on Friday with a 13-10 win over 14th-ranked Florida Tech, tied the game 63 seconds after Kopen's goal on an unassisted score by Ben Corrigan.
Kopen would add his second goal about a minute later to give the Mocs a 3-2 lead and after Hanlon scored his team leading 10th goal of the year with 5:38 left in the quarter to tie the score at 4.
The Mocs, though, would find the net one more time on the second quarter as Kopen scored his third goal of quarter off an assist from sophomore midfielder Lucas Claude (Calgary, Alberta) to take its 4-3 lead at the half.
FSC would put the game out of reach with six consecutive goals, including two apiece from Kopen and Claude in the third quarter to push its lead to 10-3. The other two Mocs goals were scored by freshman midfielder Dalton Simpson (Henderson, Nev.) and freshman attacker Kyle Silverstein (Smithtown, N.Y.).
"The message at halftime was to come out and keep shooting, don't stop shooting. Just because you're not scoring, let's keep getting the ball to the middle and get quality looks. Our guys hit their shots that is the bottom line."
The Bears would stop the Mocs scoring run in the fourth quarter as they scored two goals within 92 seconds of each other around the 10 minute mark to pull within 10-5.
FSC would find the next one last time with a little over eight minutes remaining in the game as sophomore midfielder Cody Gray (Riverview, Fla.) scored his ninth goal of the game off an assist from Claude to take an 11-5 lead. The assist by Claude was his fourth of the game and team leading ninth of the season.
Lenoir-Rhyne would complete the game's scoring on an unassisted goal by Joe Buduo with 4:02 left in the game.
In addition to Kopen's career high five goals, Claude finished with two goals and added four assists for six points. Kopen and Claude combined for a combined 26 shots in the game, while Dyer had eight shots and Gray added seven shots.
For the game, FSC outshot the Bears, 59-55 and also held a 29-28 edge in shots on goal.
FSC's 59 shots are sixth most in a single game in school history and the most since the Mocs recorded a school record tying 72 shots last season against Adams State.
The Mocs once again got a stellar performance in the goal from junior Matt Lalli (New Milford, Conn.) as the reigning SSC Defensive Player of the Week, played all 60 minutes and recorded a career high 22 saves and also picked up six of FSC's 37 ground balls for the game.
"Our goalie does a great job back there. He is a great ball stopper right now," added Ward. "Plus, he's communicating with the defense, making plays outside the net and there is nothing I could ask of Matt Lalli to do, other than maybe run it down and score a goal."
Ryan Compton played three quarters in goal for the Bears as he allowed 10 goals and had 15 shots, including nearly scoring a goal at the end of the second quarter.
The Mocs caused eight turnovers in the win as the Bears finished the game with 18. In fact, FSC also had 18 turnovers.
Both teams also were 1-for-4 on extra-man opportunities and the Mocs won 12 of 21 face-offs, including a 7-for-15 effort in the face-off circle from freshman midfielder Joseph Biondi, Jr. (Orange, Conn.). Shane Guttberg won all nine of LR's face-offs as he was 9-for-17 on face-offs.
Hanlon had two of the Bears six goals and also finished with 12 shots in the loss. Corrigan and Collier Stone each had six shots for Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Mocs will return to action on Thursday, March 3 as they host Chestnut Hill in a 1 p.m. game at Bryant Stadium.